Article 28: Authentic Texts
The original text of this Treaty, of which the Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish texts are equally authentic, shall be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
Article 28 has two aspects: that all six language versions of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) – Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish – are equally authentic, and that the original text of the Treaty is to be deposited with the Secretary-General of the United Nations (UN).
The six authentic languages of the Treaty were also the official languages of the 2012 and 2013 Conferences, which led to the conclusion of the ATT (UNGA, 2012, Rule 53). The rules additionally made provision for speeches to be made in languages other than those of the Conference, if the delegation making the speech provided interpretation of the speech into one of the languages of the Conference (UNGA, 2012, Rule 54(2)).
Although the rules of the Conference and the final ATT text placed equal emphasis on all six languages of the United Nations, English was the predominant language throughout the Preparatory Committee meetings and the 2012 and 2013 UN Conferences on the ATT. The negotiations conducted outside of the main plenary sessions were in English. Non-official documents, such as nonpapers of the President during the 2013 Conference, were circulated only in English. The various drafttexts of the ATT were drafted in English and the final text of the Treaty, as adopted by the General Assembly, was concluded in English (UNGA, 2013).
In the earlier draftof the Treaty text submitted by the President of the first 2012 UN Conference on the ATT (UNGA, 2012a), the language on authentic texts in what was draftArticle 25 was the same as the final Article 28. However, there was no provision in that draftfor the original text to be deposited with the UN Secretary-General. This provision was added to the drafttext during the Final 2013 UN Conference on the ATT and included in the final ATT text.
The inclusion of a provision to affirm depository of the Treaty with the Secretary-General of the UN is not unusual in an authentic text clause.